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Family Abuse and Crime

Risk And Protective Factors

There has been debate regarding the risk and protective factors for family violence. Some advocates argue that violence cuts across all social groups, while others agree that it cuts across social groups, but not evenly. Some researchers and practitioners place more emphasis on psychological factors, while others locate the key risk factors among social factors. Still a third group places the greatest emphasis on cultural factors, for example, the patriarchal social organization of societies.

One note of caution is that, when basing an analysis of risk and protective factors on clinical data or official report data, risk and protective factors are confounded with factors such as labeling bias or agency or clinical setting. Researchers have long noted that certain individuals and families are more likely to be (correctly or incorrectly) labeled as offenders or victims of family violence, and, similarly, some individuals and families are insulated from being (correctly or incorrectly) labeled or identified as offenders or victims. Social survey data are not immune to confounding problems either, as social or demographic factors may be related to a subject's willingness to participate in a self-report survey and the tendency to provide socially desirable responses.

An important caveat is that any listing of risk and protective factors may unintentionally convey or reinforce a notion of single-factor explanations for family violence. No phenomenon as complex as family violence can be explained with a single-factor model.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawFamily Abuse and Crime - Risk And Protective Factors, Social And Demographic Risk Factors, Situational And Environmental Factors, Research On Victims